SOMA; Observes World Radio Day and the fifth anniversary of its foundation

A one-day event for the commemoration of World Radio Day and the 5th anniversary of foundation of the Somali Media Association has been held in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Thirty eight representatives from the different members from the media owners and Media Directors from the Somali Media Association (SOMA), the civil society organizations, IMS/FOJO, Mogadishu Newspapers Association and other guest of honor were invited to attend in the event which was convened at Hotel Afrik in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The main themes covered during the observation of the two events were observation of the world radio day and the fifth anniversary of establishing the Somali Media Association (SOMA).

Specifically, the main topics for the panel discussions forum were: Community Radio, Radio and the Social Media and Radio and Sports.

In his opening remarks, Mohamed Abdiwahab, Deputy Chairman/Acting Secretary General of SOMA has briefly mentioned that the Somali Media Association (SOMA) has been established on February 13, 2013 initially as Network 2013 with 13 members, however, has increased over the years to forty member media houses operational across Somalia, and subsequently changed its name to the Somali Media Association (SOMA) on May 2106.

“SOMA has the mandate for promoting the capacity of member media stations and journalists through media skills training and content sharing program.” Mohamed Abdiwahab, Deputy Chairman/Acting Secretary General of SOMA mentioned.

Mr. Abukar Al Badri, Program Coordinator of IMS/FOJO pointed out that IMS/FOJO partnering with SOMA has taken major role in the process of its establishment and development.

“We are pleased to see that SOMA is progressing and is prepared to support further improvement of the association.” Abukar Al Badir, Program Coordinator of IMS/FOJO said.

Farah Omar, senior Somali journalist facilitating the panel discussion forum held for the event mentioned the occasion is celebrating the 7th anniversary when UNESCO’s General Assembly Conference at its 36th session proclaimed the World Radio Day on February 13.

He pointed out that the UNESCO adopted theme for this year World Radio Day observation is Media and Sports, especially mentioning that women are underrepresented in sports activities and sports program presentation in the media.

Mr. Farah Omar speaking about opportunities for women as sports broadcasters – mentioned that today, just 12% are women, according to the UNESCO-supported Global Media Monitoring Project.

Zakaria diractor of Sports FM
Said in the occasion that there are women journalist in Goal FM who present news sport but they are few, the obstacles which they face is mainly that they don’t interact with men and that they don’t have enough Media training that could make them excellent sport reporters.

Aisha Abdalla who is a young journalist also says that one of the challenges that the women Journalist face comes from the community who don’t even allow the girls to watch the games instead they tell them to go and watch movies because they believe girls know nothing about sports.

Aisha strongly believes that there could be a more number of girls who can present News program and sport news if only they get support from the community and enough training is provided for them.

After discussions on why women are underrepresented in sports and sports program presentation, it was suggested women to be given more training in sports activities and taking part in sports program presentation in the media to increase the number of women engaged in both areas. It was mentioned that there is need for change in the culture barrier against women, and the male counterparts to provide encouraging support for women to be involved in sports related activities.

Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed Sheegow, a veteran Somali radio journalist made brief presentation on the value of radio as a powerful communication tool and a low cost mass communication medium, and its types including public radio, private radio and community radio.

Then, Mr. Sheegow explained the importance of community radio, views on the community radio, introduction of what is community radio, to whom the community radio belongs? And what are the needs for establishing community radio.

It was noted that it’s very necessary to establish community radio, which is none profit making that could presents the need priorities for the rural community and provide them opportunity to raise their voices and concern to be heard. It was pointed out that radio community will eventually promote the language and culture of the rural community as well.

Ahmed Esse Guutaale, Head of Training Section of SOMA has made presentation on how the radio and the social media could take pace and interlink with each other.

The difference between the radio and the FACEBOOK was also explained

It was suggested SOMA media stations to place their radio programs in the FACEBOOK, which was described as more impactful technology than the radio, and could make the programs message reaching wide followers for increased impact.

All the speakers expressed congratulatory messages for the importance of celebrating the two important events for World Radio Day and 5th anniversary of the establishment of the Somali Media Association (SOMA).